She grew up in the Republic of Georgia learning her grandmother’s culinary skills, enduring two wars and scrimping and saving and finally coming to the U.S. to pursue a career as a chef.
And on Tuesday, Chef Teah Evans of Firefly Bistro in Manasquan, outperformed three other chefs to win the Food Network’s “Chopped’’ televised cooking show, claiming the $10,000 grand prize after three rounds of intense, timed competition.
Evans, a pastry chef and stand-in Sauté chef at the Main Street eatery, was able to make singing dishes that wowed the three-judge panel from diverse ingredients such as calf liver and peanut butter candy bars to beat out four New York-based chefs, out performing her three New York-based competitors.
The episode, called “Liver and Learn,’’ aired Tuesday night on the Food Network and featured Evans and three other chefs cooking gourmet dishes in record time using ingredients that remain a mystery to the competitors until the seconds before the clock starts ticking.
And Evans did not take an easy route to her success on the show, making flatbread in the 20-minute appetizer round, crepes with quail in the 30-minute entrée round and sponge cake in the desert round.
“I don’t know what easy life is,’’ Evans said. “I don’t get anything this way. I just do everything difficult way.’’
The competition came down to the desert round between Evans and Chef Seth Gordon, an executive chef at a Manhattan eatery. He went with a deconstructed scone, Evans with a sponge cake.
The judges said both dishes were aesthetically beautiful, but considering each of the chefs’ dishes through the entire competition, Evans was the better of the two.
“I did such a big, big thing, my life.” Evans said. “To be a little girl comes from little village to this huge city. It’s a miracle. All my life I’m never going to forget this day.’’